Follow this all-star modern rugelach recipe to impress your relatives and friends this upcoming Hanukkah! Yiddish for ‘little twists’ (makes sense.), this sweet, flaky dough is a beloved dessert loved by many, jewish and otherwise. In the early 20th century, American Jewish cooks started adding cream cheese to the dough, resulting in this yummy modern little twist (see what we did there?) we have today.
- Modern Rugelach
- (Makes 64 cookies)
- 1 cup (or 2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 tbsp granulated brown sugar
- 2 all-purpose or unbleached flour
- 8oz cream cheese, softened
- ¼ cup sour cream
- ½ cup finely chopped dates
- ½ cup finely chopped shelled pistachios (You can use any type of nut you prefer, such as walnuts or pecans)
- 1¼ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ cup butter, softened
- 1 tbsp powdered sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp water
- ¼ cup granulated brown sugar
- 1½ tsp ground cinnamon
(Mix egg and water together to form egg wash)
(Mix brown sugar and cinnamon together to form cinnamon sugar)
Directions for Dough:
1. Make sure the butter and cream cheese are resting at room temperature. In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar and cream cheese until light and fluffy with a hand or stand mixer. Slowly add flour, sour cream and salt, mix well until the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. It should have a slightly crumbly texture, à la cottage cheese.
2. Lightly flour your working surface before placing dough on it. Shape dough into ball; divide into 4 pieces. Shape each piece into ball; flatten into ½ inch-thick disk. Cover each ball in plastic wrap; refrigerate for at least 1½ hour to 2 days for easier handling.
3. Toast nuts in oven or skillet until fragrant. Careful not to burn it.4. Heat oven to 375°F. Line parchment paper on cookie sheet. In small bowl, blend dates, nuts, brown sugar, chocolate chips, cinnamon and butter. Make a little extra if you’re guilty of eating it while making it (we know we are!).
5. Lightly flour your work surface and rolling pin. Roll out 1 ball of dough to ⅛-inch thickness, forming a 12-inch round circle. (Keep remaining dough refrigerated until ready to use. It will break apart if you leave it out for too long and roll it out.) Don’t worry if the dough seems hard in the beginning, it will become more pliable as it warms up. If you can’t form a perfect circle, you can use a 9″ cake pan as a guide to cut around. It doesn’t have to be perfect though, rough, rugged rugelaches are always fun!
6. Spread ¼ (1 tbsp) of date-nut-chocolate mixture thinly onto round; press into dough slightly, leaving an inch of dough around the edges of the round. If the filling is too thick, your rugelach will probably burst in the oven. (We’re speaking from first-hand experience.) Cut dough round into 16 equal wedges. Roll up each wedge from curved edge to point.
7. Pop the cookies back into the fridge for about 15 minutes.
8. Remove from refrigerator and place on greased cookie sheets. Make sure you leave an inch between the cookies, they will expand during the baking process. (Our first batch of cookies turned out to be a huge run-together rugelach mess of goodness). Brush the top of each rugelach with egg wash and sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon. Alternatively, leave it if you intend to dust powdered sugar over it instead. Whatever suits your fancy!
9. Bake for 13 to 18 minutes until light golden brown. When the cookies are done, move from cookie sheets to cooling racks. Cool 30 minutes or until completely cooled. (Sprinkle with powdered sugar here if you didn’t use the egg wash/cinnamon sugar)
10. Place the fresh, hot rugelach haphazardly on a pretty plate and serve it up! Alternatively, wrap them up in cellophane with a lovely blue and silver ribbon for the perfect Hanukkah hostess gift.
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